4 Nov 2010

Coalition Green Watch?

Will the Tory Lib-Dem government deliver on its environmental promises? See Ecologist article here which gives a fair analysis of the situation.

Photo: Randwick Woods

My concerns about the direction of travel of this Government is an issue I have already covered on this blog. See for example my forests sell of letter here, Coalitions failings re climate change here and Cameron's silence on green issues here. I welcome the proposal to set up a Coalition Green Watch to call to account this Government and it's already ridiculous claims to become the "greenest Government ever".

Well that is all about what the Government got wrong well tonight we will be treated to the already controversial film on Channel 4 "What the environmental movement got wrong?" A sort of different version of Green Watch....? Comments have been flying around condemning the film - see also The Guardian article. I welcome such debate but I am not sure this programme is a real debate as it seems to be pushing both GM and nuclear - but let's wait and see.....

Caroline Lucas, Green Party leader and MP for Brighton Pavilion has already commented when asked what the Green Movement did right:

"The green movement welcomes genuine and constructive interrogation of the principles of green politics. However, if anything, the two issues taken up by Channel 4, GM and nuclear, are what we've got right.

"Even if we were to double the number of nuclear power stations in the UK, we’d only cut around 8% of emissions, since nuclear only provides around 4% of the UK’s energy mix. There are much cheaper, safer and crucially, quicker, ways of reducing emissions than by building more centralised nuclear power stations. What we need instead is a nationwide programme of energy efficiency, together with investment in a range of renewable energies, and decentralised Combined Heat and Power.

"With regard to Channel 4's other focus, the public have never had an appetite for GM food. More corporate control of our food system has unfortunately led to what we have predicted: less food diversity and more food speculation. GM technology doesn't necessarily increase crop yields – research has actually shown the opposite can be true. Finally, the green movement was right to push climate change to the top of government concerns. Now, we need to shift from a traditional economic recovery with a few green trimmings to a recovery rooted in social justice and which balances our needs against those of the developing world, the natural world, and those of future generation


Philip Booth said...


Anonymous said...

Andrew Simms, founder of the New Economics Foundation

If you suggest that it is better to mend a bicycle with a spanner than a fish, does that make you anti fish? Brand and Lynas try to label environmentalists as anti-science and anti-progress. But both they, and the corporate lobbies promoting GM food and nuclear power, fail to acknowledge that the green movement is merely in favour of different applications of science, ones they conclude are more likely to deliver better progress. The question should be, which tool is best for the job? Who holds the fish, and who the spanner? Brand and Lynas are waving fish. A wide range of agro-ecological farming methods coupled with land reform and economic support to small farmers are more proven, more productive and more likely to reliably feed the poor than GM.

And, numerous, quicker, cheaper, safer and more efficient climate friendly energy strategies and technologies than nuclear are available.

The programme had an oddly emotive pitch. Whilst shrouding itself in science, it displayed a very unscientific faith in particular technologies. Considering the multiple other solutions on offer for human hunger and climate change, the curious, unsettling question, left unanswered, is why do GM food and nuclear power get such disproportionate attention?

Anonymous said...

Greed not greens cause hunger

The Guardian, Tuesday 9 November 2010
Article history

The Channel 4 documentary What the Green Movement Got Wrong(Last night's TV, 5 November) in our view made a series of misguided and inaccurate allegations and assumptions. It identified GM as a solution to hunger and implicated anti-GM campaigners for exacerbatingfood insecurity. As development organisations, we consider the documentary was extremely biased against environmental organisations that do so much to promote positive solutions. Hunger is a blight on humanity, but it is a political and economic problem. Its root causes include the broken and biased trading system; the bankers who gamble on the price of staple foods; and land grabs by financiers – all of which make food unaffordable for the hungry and deny their right to food.

In our view, the most significant impact that GM companies have made is to dominate the seed chain, selling expensive and patented seeds to farmers, seeds that are used more for livestock feed, cotton and biofuels – not for feeding people. The documentary didn't include any independent voices from civil society in the global south who are campaigning against GM and for local sustainable food production.

Had they done so, it is likely to have become clear that the small-scale farmers who provide food for most people in the world are not calling for GM technologies that are beyond their control. They are calling for political will from governments to take on the corporate lobbyists and protect their land, natural resources and production systems; a fair trading system to ensure fair prices; and a fair hearing from governments and documentary-makers on the future food system.

Deborah Doane World Development Movement

Patrick Mulvany UK Food Group

Andrew Scott Practical Action

John Hilary War on Want